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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » New to magic? » » Am I just afraid or is there something to it? (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

Chicagomagi
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Riverside, IL
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I'm discovering a trend. One of the main reasons that I'm drawn to magic is that I'm an incredibly "gullible" (for lack of better term) lay person. I see a trick and I'm baffled, thrilled, intrigued.

However, once I learn a trick and start to practice it, I almost invariably begin to think, "This looks so fake. There's no way they will not know what I'm doing."

I'm psyching myself out against performing because I truly believe that it's so obvious what's going on. It's almost like - now that I know the secret the magic is gone. There's no way I can make it magical for someone else, to recreate the illusion.

I'm sure it's mostly fear of failure and getting caught, and that just snowballs, complicating things by affecting my ability to look smooth and confident.

Anyone else out there feel the same way or felt similarly when you were starting out. Any suggestions for me for getting over the psychological hump and to truly believe that I can make tricks look magical?
Chrystal
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Canada/France
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Hi,

I would suggest: no matter what that inner voice tells you about the effect looking lame or you think it's obvious - stick with it! What you said rings true with many at first, and it may be the reason why those that have years of experience keep repeating the same thing - Practise, Practise , Practise. Magic can be equated to any form of sport or art - it's not achieved overnight. If you are too anxious to have it perfect the first couple times, you'll be setting yourself up for dissapointment. If in your attempt to show people the routine before you're ready you're in danger of exposing it and the response will leave you feeling dissapointed. You can see why this is a sticky topic with many magicians of those trying to rush showing others their new effect before they have practised it well. The yells of "I know how you did it" will be heard and I believe that's what you're afraid of. Believe me if you practise it well - chances are rare that will happen.

The first time you (this refers to anyone) picks up a new effect - they may be clumsy with it, the patter sounds stilted...they continue to practise. Soon the particular effect appears to be done effortlessly and the patter is smooth and flowing , allowing the spectator to be caught up in the story. There is a reason you are doing the effect and not just doing a "trick".

In our "I want it now society" it's sometimes difficult to put months or weeks of effort to see the end result. MSN recently posted a story regarding this very thing that in todays instant world of electronics it's becoming harder and harder to do something NOW which will reap results in the future.

Now for your mindset - get mentally prepared - have a friend video tape you or practise in front of a mirror, have a trusted friend or family member crtique you. Be honest with yourself and you will see the improvement as magic is not just "tricks" but the ability to entertain as well. You'll become more confident with time and after a few successful attempts (going to repeat myself again) when you have practised it - this will boost your confidence and you can attempt more magic.

Think of the many pros and the hundreds of conventions that exist, and yet, people perform for audiences of other magicians and still manage to fool their peers many times. You don't have to know all forms of magic at this time but concentrate on the type of magic that interest you. You can still enjoy the thrill that magic gives you and carry it over to your audience.

Don't rush and try to do all at once. Perhaps only attempt three things so that you know them so well you could do it with your eyes closed. Then Grasshopper you may be ready.

Best of luck to you!

Chrystal
Small-hands Luke
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I agree. It's incredibly cliche (and annoying when you're told it), but practising will clear up all your problems. Practise until you don't even have to think. It's a lot of practise and a lot of time, but once you see the effect that you can have on people you'll find it all to be worth it.

If you can, find someone else who does magic (doesn't have to be a "magician" just a friend who knows some tricks) and ask them to critique you at various stages so you can improve. It feels so good to have someone who knows what you're doing not be able to tell.

If you have a webcam with your computer you can even use that in conjunction with a mirror.
madmaxa
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Quote:
On 2006-02-01 00:13, Chicagomagi wrote:
...However, once I learn a trick and start to practice it, I almost invariably begin to think, "This looks so fake. There's no way they will not know what I'm doing."...


Every trick looks fake once you know the secret. I remember the very first time I was introduced to a TT, some 20 years ago. It looked so silly and I thought "There is no way this can work!". But than something crossed my mind: "I was so amazed with the the trick before I found the secret, so it must mean that my audience will be amazed too, no matter it looks silly to me.". And I did my first performance with TT. And, of course, everyone was amazed. After that, I had confidence every time, and never questioned myself again.
So, my point is: the magic looks magic if you don't know the secret, so just do it!
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DomKabala
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Quote:
On 2006-02-01 00:13, Chicagomagi wrote:
I see a trick and I'm baffled, thrilled, intrigued.
You were once on the "outside looking in". Now you are in the "inside looking out". Always remind yourself that you were once the one that was being entertained and now you are the entertainer. Never let go of the feeling of being baffled, thrilled & intrigued and learn to impart that same feeling to your audience. To do this you must practice until you cannot do it wrong. "Make haste slowly". In the beginning concentrate on some effects that do not require "knuckle-busting" sleights, you know selfworkers. This will allow you to concentrate on presentation. Work with a close friend or family member for critique and learn to accept criticism graciously. Always be natural and strive not to copy others. Know the effect inside and out so it becomes automatic. Lastly, nervousness is natural and it will never be conquered. You have to learn to deal with it by facing it and taking the "plunge". If you fall, just pick yourself up and continue...don't give up! If you can, find a local ring (IBM or SAM) and join. There you will find others who are in the same boat as you. All of us began in the same boat my friend. I was a member of SAM ring in Ft. Lauderdale back in the '70s and I met a lot of good people who helped me out.
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magicman226
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Anything can look real with practice.
Cory Gallupe
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Just like the old TT example. "Noone is looking for a thumb..."
Jondalawyer
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Chicagomagi:

I felt and sometimes still feel the same way with respect to how "obvious" an effect is done.

In time you begin to understand that you only see the solution because you know the solution.

I recognized this after watching friends perform for laypeople and the reactions they received. The spectators are impressed and amazed.

These days I spend a lot of time during magic performances and demos at the magic shop watching the reactions of the spectators. It provides a nice perspective.

Jon
JackScratch
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Learn to use your audiences immediate reactions to what you do, to judge your work. As a magician, it is unlikely that you will be able to look at your work objectivly. Do your work, practice, script, reherse, then go forth and perform. Learn to watch your audience as you perform (this is one very important reason for scripting and rehersing excessively). Watch for the reaction you are trying to evoke. If you don't recieve them, or recieve undesireable reactions, then back to the drawing board.
jgravelle
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Assume a persona.

We all dread hearing:
"That trick sucked, Dave."

But by assuming a character role, we buffer ourselves from that sort of thing, and will often find that the negativity we fear from others is easier to accept in the third person:
"Dahveed the Magnificent really screwed up that disappearing bunny thing."

...is far more tolerable, because it's aimed at us only peripherally. It's the difference between having our necktie criticized versus our fashion sense. You... WE... fear the personalization of negative feedback. So depersonalize it.

There's a word-generator here:
http://www.voidstate.com/name_generator/index.php

It's for RPGs, but you can use it to randomly generate your new persona.

And if you ever get a chance to see Ed Marlo telling his Slydini story, do it. It helped my mindset on the whole matter tremendously.


Regards,

-jjg
snarfer
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Just practice your material, go out and perform it, people´s reactions will make your fear go away....
evolve629
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If you don't believe in it, then your specatators are not going to either. Without putting in effort, i.e. practice, nothing is going to look good I'm afraid.
One hundred percent of the shots you don't take don't go in - Wayne Gretzky
My favorite part is putting the gaffs in the spectators hands...it gives you that warm fuzzy feeling inside! - Bob Kohler
Cory Gallupe
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I agree 100%
Chicagomagi
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Riverside, IL
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Wow! I figured that this would draw out the responses, but I'm really floored by the quality of the feedback. Thanks to everyone especially Chrystal!

I have been practising and really working the basics for some weeks and months now but still having the mental hurdles get in my way.

Someone suggested joining a local ring. Once again I have been dragging my feet as I'm intimidated to be around folks who really know their stuff. (There's a local SAM that meets about 5 min from my house!) Kind of wierd as I'm sure that I'd really learn a lot and get some support. I think I over analyze.
:)

Thanks again for all the support.
Jondalawyer
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Don't Delay Joining the SAM or IBM.

Our Ring has members new to magic and professionals. It doesn't matter, we all just love magic.
Josh the Superfluous
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One of the things I love about magic instruction video, is that when I see something that fools me, and then learn how to do it, when I go back it looks obvious. But I know that it's the exact same performance that I had just been fooled by.

And the weird thing is it keeps feeling more and more obvious the more you perform. I've had almost out if body experiences due to strong misdirection. Everyone will be focused right where I want them and I can get away with anything. It's a really wild feeling.
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Chicagomagi
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Riverside, IL
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Quote:
On 2006-02-01 10:03, jgravelle wrote:

And if you ever get a chance to see Ed Marlo telling his Slydini story, do it. It helped my mindset on the whole matter tremendously.



JJG,
Any link to the book or video where this story can be found?
jgravelle
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Just looked it up for ya. It's on "Cardician", almost exactly in the middle. Look for his reply to a question about his "favorite convention".

Watch his face as he tells the story. He pulls you into his shoes, and it's fantastic.


Regards,

-jjg
Face
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Think it this way: when you saw it you liked it, now you show it and they like it Smile Why shouldnt they like it, if you did? Smile
Chrystal
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Canada/France
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Hi Chicagomagi,

You're welcome and glad it helped. It seems that everyone that posted, all said the same thing and it's great when that happens as we're all on the same mindset.

Good Luck to you!

Chrystal
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